New South Wales Blues more than lived up to the pre-match hype surrounding their State of Origin hopes with a stunning 28-4 thrashing of Queensland Maroons in game one in Brisbane.
Despite losing 10 of the last 11 series, the Blues were backed by many to prevail at Suncorp Stadium, particularly with inspirational Maroons half-back Johnathan Thurston missing his first Origin match since 2004 due to injury.
However, few could have anticipated the manner of New South Wales' victory on Wednesday, as Laurie Daley's men enjoyed the better of a typically tight first half before surging clear to win by an emphatic margin.
The only downside for the Blues, who ran in five tries to their opponents' one as Andrew Fifita excelled, was the exit of Mitchell Pearce 11 minutes into the second half, after the recalled playmaker took a nasty-looking blow to the head.
After a flying Corey Oates had failed to cleanly ground a fifth-minute grubber from Maroons team-mate Darius Boyd, the Blues opened the scoring in the next set.
Fifita powered through the line from Pearce's inside pass and a perfectly timed offload from the prop found Cronulla Sharks team-mate James Maloney, who side-stepped Boyd to go in under the posts and converted his own try.
Both sides maintained exceptional completion rates in the first period and Queensland hit back in spectacular fashion shortly before the interval, Oates rising high to collect Cooper Cronk's cross-field kick and touch down.
Cameron Smith dragged the conversion wide, though, and the Blues had an eight-point lead at half-time thanks to a slick running play on the last tackle that saw Wade Graham switch the ball back inside for James Tedesco, who duly put Pearce over with Maloney again adding the extras.
The exit of Pearce, who left the field after being caught on the head by the shoulder of Will Chambers, could have disrupted the Blues, but they instead strengthened their position.
The impressive Tedesco held off three tacklers to score his team's third try and Fifita pounced to claim a deserved four-pointer of his own after Justin O'Neill had dropped the ball on his own line.
A slick move down the left then put Jarryd Hayne over with Queensland in disarray, while late pressure from the Maroons went unrewarded as the Blues produced defensive excellence to match their attacking threat.